Danish researchers say Tycho Brahe died of natural causes

15-11-2012

The famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who served at the Prague court of Rudolf II at the turn of the 17th century, may have died from natural causes, not mercury poisoning, the Danish newspaper Politiken reported. Based on analyses done by Jens Vellev, an archeologist from Aarhus University, the amount of mercury found in Brahe’s hair was not life threatening and most likely indicates that he died of natural causes. The hair was obtained by Danish scientists during an exhumation of the astronomer’s body at his burial site in the Týn church in Prague in 2010. The circumstances of Tycho Brahe’s death have been long debated and a number of theories, including an assassination, have appeared over the years. The theory that he died of mercury poisoning was supported by research done after the body’s pervious exhumation in 1901. But this week’s announcement of the most recent findings rules out this possibility, pointing back to a previous theory that Brahe died of kidney problems.